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Lawsuit filed against Lakeside Casino for harassment

A lawsuit filed in Clarke County alleges the general manager of Lakeside Hotel and Casino made inappropriate sexual comments to employees and patrons, and the human resources manager had inappropriate sexual relationships with her subordinates and gave them more favorable treatment.

The lawsuit was filed by Gail Ann Wilson, a former guest service manager at Lakeside, against Bob Thursby, general manager; Carol Eckels, human resources manager; Lakeside Hotel and Casino and Affinity Gaming, the parent company of Lakeside.

The lawsuit states Wilson, a Native American, was fired in November 2011 “because of her race, national origin, sex and because she complained about what she believed to be unlawful employment practices.”

Thursby and Eckels have denied all of Wilson’s allegations in a legal response to the lawsuit.

Alleged comments

Wilson’s lawsuit alleges Thursby frequently made discriminatory and harassing comments toward her, other employees and patrons because of their race or national origin.

A few of the comments allegedly were:

• “We need to get together for a little powwow.”

• “Hey Indian, did you cause this bad weather?”

• “You tell that Indian that if she doesn’t do it, I will send her back to the damn reservation.”

• “There were two potatoes standing along the road and how can you tell which one is a prostitute? The one that has I Da’ Ho stamped on it.”

• “I don’t know why (Eckels) is still sticking around here because I don’t remember her (performing a sexual act).

Other instances

The lawsuit alleges Thursby once informed a female patron he didn’t recognize her with her clothes on, and even though the patron’s friend complained about the sexual harassment, Lakeside management didn’t discipline or take action against Thursby.

The lawsuit also alleges Eckels engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with her subordinates and treating them more favorably, and Lakeside management was aware of this.

However, Lakeside management allegedly didn’t discipline or take disciplinary action against Eckels. When Wilson complained in 2010, “papering,” or changing, was allegedly done to Wilson’s personnel file — asserting her performance was suffering.

Wilson claims she has in the past, and will in the future, suffer injuries and damages including, but not limited to, mental emotional distress, fear, anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, lost enjoyment of life; medical, therapeutic and other expenses; lost wages, benefits, future earning and other emoluments of employment.

A jury trial in the case has been scheduled March 3, 2014, in Osceola.

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